New Delhi: The Dalits who were publicly flogged in Una, Gujarat in 2016 have written to President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking permission for mercy killing. According to the Indian Express, the victims have said that the state government has did not fulfil any of the promises that were made in the aftermath of the incident.
Vashram Sarvaiya has written on behalf of his family that then chief minister Anandiben Patel had made several promises after the July 11, 2016 attack, but the victims were still waiting for the government to deliver.
“She had assured us that the state government will allot five acres land to each of victims, that the victims will be given government jobs as per their qualification, and Mota Samadhiyala will be transformed into a developed village. Two years and four months have passed since the incident and the government has fulfilled none of its promises nor has it made any attempt to fulfil them,” Indian Express has quoted the letter as saying.
“We have quit the occupation of selling animal hides and therefore are left with no other means of livelihood. It is possible we would die of hunger in future. We have represented our case repeatedly in writing and orally, but the Gujarat government has not paid any attention to any of our problems.”
On July 11, 2016, a group of self-styled ‘cow vigilantes’ went to the house of Balu Sarvaiya, a Dalit whose primary occupation was skinning dead cattle. They assaulted seven members of the Sarvaiya family, including Balu, his wife Kunvar, his sons Vashram and Ramesh, and relatives Ashok and Bechar. Devarshi Banu, who tried to help the family, was also beaten up. Later, the mob tied Ramesh, Vashram, Ashok and Bechar to a car, and stripped, flogged and marched them half naked for about 25 km in Una.
A video of the incident had gone viral on social media and led to public outrage, as well as large-scale protests by Dalits across Gujarat. Vashram’s letter expresses dismay that Dalits who were booked for violence during these protests are still fighting the charges, and the government has not withdrawn them.
“Police had filed totally false cases against Dalits during the agitation. Whenever we go out to attend some social event of our community, we feel pain and distress to note that cases filed against members of our community have not been withdrawn.”
The family has also not been provided with the kind of security they need, Vashram alleged.
“Our case is being heard by a court in Veraval. Despite our plea to the state home department, neither we nor the witnesses have been given armed police protection. Nor are police arranging any vehicles for ferrying witnesses to the court. On the other hand, the accused are getting bail. They are violating their bail conditions and indulging in other offences. Despite all this, the state government has done nothing to get bail of such people cancelled. So, the state government has failed to meet our demands. Our lives have become miserable now. We do not want to live longer and hence are seeking permission for mercy killing.”